This past week has been "Special Project" week for the photojournalism students at Loyalist. We found our own stories and created our own assignments. We were allowed to start shooting last Saturday and the assignment was due an Thursday at 5pm. I chose to do a ride along with Second Harvest. Second Harvest is an organisation like Food Runners in Vancouver, they take excess food from restaurants, hotels, grocery store and bakeries which would be thrown out and distribute it to organisations which, in turn, distribute to people in need.
My intention with this assignment was to show people helping people in need in a way which preserves the dignity of the recipients. Maintaining the dignity of the recipient was the thing which always struck me as foremost in the minds of the volunteers from these programs and it is what I will do with this or any assignment I am involved in. Particularly, I wanted to demonstrate that the people involved in distributing food made sure the food was edible, palatable, culturally appropriate and healthy. I have seen some of the food donated to agencies which distribute food to people in need and it is obvious some people do not get it: if you won't eat that, why do you think anybody else should?
I had a great day, Abby from Second Harvest, and her co-workers arranged a "drive along" with Matt, a paid driver with the organisation. I felt a little guilty during the day because all I did was take pictures while Matt worked very hard loading and unloading the truck, but then I remembered that I had my job and he had his.
The most amazing place we went was CORE, the Centre for Opportunity, Respect and Empowerment. Their cliental are persons who are mentally handicapped. CORE receives food from Second Harvest, prepares it, using their professional staff and cliental, freezes it and gives it to Second Harvest to distribute to agencies that don't have food preparation facilities. I want to go back there.